Eileen was staring at the clouds. They looked like cotton from above. She desired to walk on them or use them as a bed.
Eileen tried to concentrate on her book because she was getting uneasy after 9 hours on the plane. She couldn't sleep because her seat was uncomfortable and she was hungry. It felt like ages since she had bought a sandwich from the smil-ing stewardess. After being disturbed by an announcement, Eileen gave up on reading and focused on the clouds again. The light-shadow play the sun caused was plain beauty. She began to let her thoughts flow. It had been three months now she had lived in Maria Alm with Ben. Three happy months actually. She had quickly adapted to her surroundings and had found new friends: Christina, who worked at the town library. She was short, blond and had brown eyes. Eileen had been a bit shy about approaching Christina, but since she had to go to the library almost every week Christina and her started talking. One day they met for a coffee and went to the movies. So after a while, they became friends. The other person she considered her friend in Maria Alm, was Stephan. One morning Eileen went hiking on her own, because she had had a fight with Ben the night before. She got up early and stumped out of the house, angry and tired. After half an hour of wandering through the wilderness, she didn't watch her feet anymore. She accidentally tripped over a stone and glided down a hill. Darkness began to surround her. Some short time later she woke up on a couch in a living room unknown to her. Her head was aching like hell. As she sat up and examined the surroundings, she recognized some pain killers, a cup of black tea and a plate with cookies next to her. There had been a stabbing pain in her left knee where the cosy blanket touched it. Eileen saw that it had been bandaged by someone. After a while Stephan entered the room and introduced himself. He was 27, had short brown hair and greyish eyes. He behaved like a real gentlemen and his smile was pleasant. He explained how he had found her lying close by the path near the woods. After emptying her cup of tea and eating a lot of chocolate cookies Stephan drove Eileen back to her Alp. She felt much better now, although still a bit dazed. Eileen told Ben later that she had met Stephan while she went hiking, because she didn't want him to become mad about her foolishness.
A thing Eileen surely didn't like was that Ben made her use an alias. Eileen aka Catherine and Ben aka Thomas. The two of them told their friends a cover story to explain why they lived in Maria Alm: They made up that they were from Wales and best friends. The reason for their move was, that they just wanted to start their own lives far away from their parents; a life without rules and busy jobs.
Eileen shook her head and got up in order to use the toilet. After she returned to her seat she saw with huge relief that the stewardesses were stopping next to her row. Eileen bought herself another sandwich, a salad, chips and a tin of coke. Then she fell asleep and didn't wake until the woman seated next to her, told her to put on her seatbelt, as they were landing, which again caused a little looping sensation in her stomach. All the people stood up and tried to get out quickly. Eileen waited until the queue was gone, fetched her carry-on bag and got off the plain, into a bus which carried her to the luggage reclaim. Eileen was overwhelmed by the size of the airport. She waited for her red suitcase to arrive. Then she left the airport and waited for a cab to take her to the booked Bed and Breakfast in so called Bush Street.
First thing she did there was going to the Coffee Shop. After that she went down a little sidewalk on the left hand side to have her hair done at the hairdresser. Thank god she bought a map of the city at the airport! The American girl who did her hair talked on and on and on and Eileen tried to be just as gentle and polite as she could. At least she did her job well. Eileen left the hair studio looking like another person. Now her hair was straight and dyed brown. But her inside had also changed. She felt completely new and completely safe, more self-confident in some way.
When Eileen got back from her little shopping tour, the own-er, an elderly lady, almost didn't recognize her anymore. Her name was Roberta Hernandez; she was a Hispanic lady with long grey hair and a friendly and adorable face.
Roberta: Ah, you look so pretty, Miss. Watch out, the men in San Francisco will chase you.
Eileen: (laughing) Hopefully not. Good night, Mrs Hernandez.
Roberta: Please, dear, call me Roberta.
Eileen: Ok, Roberta. Good night.
Roberta: Sleep well, dear.
She went upstairs and put on black tight pants, a beige silk top and a nice blazer. And then for the first time she looked into the mirror for good. She was stunned. She looked completely different. She wasn't Eileen anymore, she was Catherine. She was confident and was able to fulfil her plan.